Breakfast briefing: Tuesday, December 22

Market wrap: US stocks ended stronger on Monday, helped by bounces in Apple and Microsoft as well as a rally in hospital stocks after more Americans signed up for subsidised health insurance. - Reuters

The DJIA rose 0.72% to end at 17,251.48 points,  the S&P gained 0.78% to 2,021.16 and Nasdaq added 0.93% to finish at 4,968.92.

Forex summary

*The ringgit lost 0.05% to 4.2965 per US$

*It fell 0.47% to 4.6850 per euro

*Down 0.02% to 6.3994 to the pound sterling

*0.33% lower to 3.0528 per Singapore dollar

*0.48% lower to 3.0915 per Aussie

*Up 0.09% to 3.5414 per 100 yen


Brent oil cratered to its lowest price in more than 11 years on Monday, as demand for heating oil slumped on warmer-than-normal temperatures and traders tested for a bottom. Brent futures LCOc1 were down 53 cents at US$36.35, falling as much as 2% during the session to a low of US$36.04, their weakest since July 2004. - Reuters

Top foreign stories

Ericsson signs patent deal with Apple: Swedish mobile telecom gear maker Ericsson said it had signed a patent licence deal with Apple Inc over technology that helps smartphones and tablets connect to mobile networks. The deal ends a year-long dispute with Apple, one of the biggest legal battles in mobile technology and Ericson said it would pave the way for cooperation between the companies on future technologies. - Reuters

BMW hit with US$40m US penalty for safety lapses: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Monday fined BMW US$10 million, part of a US$40 million civil settlement over the German automaker's safety lapses. The fine is the second paid by BMW since 2012. Under the settlement, BMW admitted it did not comply with minimum crash protection standards, failed to notify owners of recalls in a timely fashion and failed to provide accurate information about its recalls to NHTSA. - Reuters

Bumpy year drags US share listings back to 2009 levels: New share listings in the United States had their worst year since 2009, Thomson Reuters data showed on Tuesday, as a number of deals were pulled or priced below their initial range. Global listings were down 26% compared with 2014, at US $185.9 billion. The worst hit market was the United States, which has booked US$28.7 billion in initial public offerings activity so far this year, down 48% on 2014. Asia also suffered, with listings down 36% at US$65 billion, but Europe was up 2% at US$69.1 billion. - Reuters

European banks poised for job cuts in 2016: Regulation, anemic economic growth and technology changes will force banks across Europe to find more savings in 2016, with jobs likely to be the biggest casualty, according to investors and analysts. Ten of the region's biggest banks have announced staff cuts of 130,000 since June, according to data compiled by Reuters, more than the total number of job losses announced by those banks in 2013 and 2014. - Reuters

Top local stories

Axiata expanding into Nepal: Axiata Group Bhd, the mobile telecommunications company with a presence in eight countries, is expanding into Nepal by acquiring an 80% stake in the number one mobile operator there, Ncell Pte Ltd, for US$1.365bil (RM5.907bil). - StarBiz

Hicom Megah sells Singapore mall:
DRB-Hicom Bhd's indirect subsidiary Hicom Megah Sdn Bhd is selling a shopping mall in Singapore for S$317mil (RM965mil). Hicom Megah controls 90% of Corwin Holdings Pte Ltd, the owner of a six-storey the Verge shopping mall located at Serangoon Road. - StarBiz

YNH unit inks MoU to develop land in KL: YNH Property Bhd subsidiary Kar Sin Bhd has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the local unit of Fong Yu Investments Pte Ltd to develop three parcels of land in Kuala Lumpur. YNH is the turnkey contractor of the parcels of land, while the owner of the land is Suileem Realty Sdn Bhd. - StarBiz

BLand net profit surges on asset sale and revaluation: Berjaya Land Bhd (BLand) posted a net profit of RM208.3mil for its second quarter on a higher revenue of RM1.62bil from RM1.41bil a year earlier. The higher group revenue was mainly attributed to strong sales of the 4D Jackpot games recorded by the gaming business operated by Berjaya Sports Toto Bhd’s principal subsidiary, Sports Toto Malaysia Sdn Bhd. - StarBiz

Deloitte: O&G industry likely to consolidate: The oil and gas industry is expected to consolidate amid the pervasive low oil prices which have led to reduced investments and slower production rates, says Deloitte Malaysia. - StarBiz

PNB buys into Rahim and Co: Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) has completed the purchase of a 49% stake in Rahim and Co International Sdn Bhd. The two entities said the strategic partnership will further enhance PNB’s property management activities, given Rahim and Co’s established research capabilities. - Bernama

Firefly codeshares with MAB: Firefly Airlines has inked a codeshare accord with Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB), beginning with three destinations on the airline’s route network from the KL International Airport. The three destinations are Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Penang. - Bernama

GB Asiatic signs accord on RM9.2b JV projects: GB Asiatic Ventures Sdn Bhd, in partnership with China Machinery Engineering Corp, has signed two memorandums of development with AJ Pharma Holding Sdn Bhd and PT Sriwijaya Utama Energy to undertake projects worth RM9.2bil. - Bernama

MRCB eyes Indonesia and Thailand: Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd (MRCB) is in talks to expand its property development business into Indonesia and Thailand. - StarBiz

Pestech expects to maintain double-digit growth in FY16: Pestech International Bhd expects to post another double-digit growth the current year ending June 30, 2016, says executive director Paul Lim Pay Chuan. For the year ended June 30, 2015, Pestech’s net profit more than doubled to RM46.73 million, while revenue grew 35.7% to RM297.52 million. - Edge FD

Scan Associates sees breakeven in FY16 on cost cuts: Scan Associates Bhd, which is embroiled in a boardroom tussle with former chief executive director and co-founder Datuk Dr Norbik Bashah Idris, hopes to break even this financial year ending June 30, 2016 backed by cost-cutting efforts. - Edge FD

Maybank IB named best brokerage: Maybank Investment Bank Bhd (Maybank IB) was voted Best Brokerage House in Malaysia, Best Overall Country Research and Best Macroeconomic Research for Malaysia by fund managers across the world in Asiamoney’s Brokers Poll 2015. - StarBiz

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